Gareth Duncan - MyPlayers.co.za
Cape Town - Sharks flyhalf Garth April says the backing and
support he receives from coaches and players allows him to play with
April’s career is one of the recent fairytale stories of
South African rugby.
After starting his professional rugby career at the Lions at
junior level in 2009, he struggled for opportunities during his three-year
stint in Johannesburg.
He ended up returning home in the Cape, where he played for
Boland in the Vodacom Cup before joining Durbanville-Bellville (Durbell) in the
club rugby ranks.
He then excelled at the 2015 Community Cup (now known as the
Gold Cup), leading Durbell to the national open club title and was named Young
Player of the Tournament.
This attracted Western Province, who selected him for the
Vodacom Cup, before the Sharks offered the talented speedster a full-time
Several months later, April started his first Super Rugby
match for the Durban side, kicking all five penalties during their 15-14 win
over current defending champions the Highlanders in Dunedin.
The 24-year-old will now start his second consecutive Super
Rugby match when the Sharks tackle the Chiefs on Friday (09:35 SA time).
“The match against the Highlanders was an overwhelming
experience. It was my first Super Rugby start, so to kick five out five for the
win was great,” April told MyPlayers. “Starting against the Chiefs this weekend
gives me a lot of confidence. It’s great knowing that the coaches back me.
“I was happy with my performance last week. I know I have a
lot to improve on, especially when it comes to my game management and kicking
game. Against the Chiefs, I just want to do the basics well and I know the rest
April added that the Sharks will be aiming to be more
effective on attack the Chiefs.
“We definitely want an improved team performance. We want to
score many more tries. We want to play ball-in-hand rugby.”
April believes his partnerships with the Sharks scrumhalves
have also helped a great deal this season.
“Playing with Claasie (Michael Claassens) does make me feel
I’ve been playing Super Rugby for some time because he offers great leadership
on and off the field. He’s very vocal during the game and directs things very
well. I can say the same about Cobie (Cobus Reinach).”
Off the field, April is enjoying his first overseas tour to
New Zealand. He’s been spending some time sightseeing with his team-mates.
“Yes, it’s my first time in New Zealand and I’m enjoying
every single moment over here,” said April. “People are so friendly and their
country is beautiful. Surprisingly, they also love South African players!
“While I’m out of South Africa, I’m receiving lots of
messages of support and well-wishes on social media, especially from family and
friends. Their support means a lot to me. Thank you to everyone.”
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13
Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sam McNicol, 10 Aaron Cruden
(co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6
Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2
Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham
16 Nathan Harris, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Kane Hames, 19 James Tucker, 20
Lachlan Boshier, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Shaun
Willie le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre
Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Garth April, 9. Michael Claassens, 8.
Daniel du Preez, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Keegan Daniel (captain), 5.
Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Kyle
Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17.
Thomas du Toit, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Jean
Deysel, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Joe Pietersen, 23. Odwa Ndungane
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